Writers Write. Successful Writers Publish. There’s Nothing Aspirational About It
Stop dithering about whether or not you’re a real writer
Worrying about whether or not you are a real writer is a humongous waste of time and energy. No fairy godmother that is going to swoop down and anoint you as a writer.
A lady in a lake is not going to give you a book or a sword that makes you a real writer. An agent is going to come busting through your door with a briefcase full of unmarked hundred-dollar bills and a “real writer” contract.
There is only one way to be a writer. You have to write.
Do you write?
Congratulations! You are a writer. Not go forth and do writer things like drink too much of some substance that’s bad for you.
If you blog, you are a writer. If you write haiku, you are a writer. If you write fan fiction, you are a writer.
If you write middle-grade books, white papers, cozy mysteries, steamy romances, or explainer video scripts, you are a writer. You are a real writer.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
Nobody else is in charge of your career. The best part of being a writer is that you can decide what you want your writing life to be like.
You can be like epic American poet Emily Dickinson and keep most of your writing secret and private. You are still a real writer, and you get to call yourself a writer. Don’t say that you are an aspiring writer. Do you write? Writers write. If you write, you are a writer.
Being a Successful Writer
While there are no rules for what makes you a writer other than the act of writing, if you want to be a successful writer, there is at least one more step you have to take. Successful writers publish.
There are a lot of different ways to pursue publishing. You can find an agent and become a traditionally published author like Shaunta Grimes.
You can focus on inspiring others like Ayodeji Awosika to become better people and better writers.
You can become a self-published author. That’s the route I’m taking. You can be a freelance writer that writes for clients. That’s a path I’ve already been down, and one I still enjoy.
But, you cannot be a successful writer without putting your work out into the world.
Being a successful writer means publishing your stuff one way or another. However, just because you publish doesn’t mean you will be successful.
It takes hard work, skill, and some luck to find a readership that will support you emotionally and financially. But, without publication, it’s impossible.
I write and publish at least five days a week. I do client work, post stories to Medium, and work on my creative projects. Every day I am getting something closer to being publication-ready, or I am publishing something.
I’m fortunate enough to make a full time living as a writer. My path will be different from yours. I don’t have all the answers for what you need to do to make a full time living from your writing.
But, I do know this. You won’t get there dithering over whether or not you’re a real writer. You won’t get there keeping a secret journal.
Writers write, and successful writers publish.